Originally Posted by Undertaker666
True. But we need to realise a lot of the stars of today (Kane, HHH, Edge etc.) were created due to a need by WWE (then WWF) to create stars to compete with the names of WCW. If you compare WCW to WWF during the Monday Night Wars based on name value alone then WCW had things in the bag, until of course certain names (Stone Cold, HHH, The Rock etc.) began to rise.
WCW had the majority of guys which WWF made big stars of (Hogan, Savage, Nash, Hall, Rude, Hennig, Hart etc.), but then WWF also took guys from WCW who were being under utilised by WCW but had the potential to be stars (Rey Mysterio, Jericho, Benoit, Guerrero) and booked them long-term to be so.
Your first paragraph is the real problem. WWE hasn't HAD to do anything for 9 years. They won, right? And rather than just be content to be #1 (considering that by 2001 WCW was not even close to WWE's level) and make millions, they shrank the entire industry. And now, there's no reason for WWE's top talent to leave unless Vince flat out doesn't want them. TNA can't match an upper midcarder's salary except in unusual circumstances and even with the Spike TV deal you know Angle had to have taken a pay cut. In 1998 Vince had to weigh what a guy was worth to him vs. what it would mean if the guy left. Guys like Sid and LOD and even Jeff Jarrett still had value to the company, but they weren't worth hanging onto and they created spots for fresh guys to come in.
Now, who has left the main event scene in the past 5 years? Benoit and Guerrero are the only two I can think of, and they weren't even top guys for most of their runs. JBL and King Booker, but again those two were never seen as long-term main eventers. Oh, and Angle (who had already been phased out as a top guy). And RVD is up there too, I guess, but again, none were built as being at the very top. Hardy is probably the biggest since he left just as he was breaking into the top spot.
Undertaker, Triple H, HBK, Cena, Orton, and Batista have been main eventers since 2005. The number of pay per views not headlined by one of those guys can be counted on one hand. It's the same phenomenon Hogan went through in the 90's: after he had already been a main eventer for so long there was a fatigue for something, anything else. McMahon recognized it, putting Savage over in WM 4 and Warrior in 6 and eventually letting Hogan go when obviously he probably could've kept getting at least decent buyrates despite his schedule and health issues. I mean, it's not like WCW used him on every show despite signing the big deal with him.
In the long-term, this kind of over-use reduces a main eventer's value because while Undertaker will always have fans, the Undertaker will never get any bigger than he used to be. His drawing ability peaked 11 years ago, and while his name still has value, there isn't the same sort of excitement that Steve Austin had in 1998 or The Rock and Mankind and Triple H had in 1999-2000. John Cena is now an "established" guy but that also means he isn't going to be any bigger than he is.
Of course, this is also why Jeff Hardy leaving stings so much. Jeff Hardy is a guy that hadn't feuded with any of the old guard and would probably be main eventing wrestlemania this year if he could control himself.
But imagine what WWE would do if Undertaker, HBK, Triple H, Cena and Batista left WWE inside of a year. They'd be decimated, right? Except that 4 of those 5 guys are closing in on 40 and Cena could probably crossover into an actor if he wanted to. It would kill the WWE's buyrates for months if not a couple of years, but all that would happen is that a new group would take over, the same way this bunch did after Hogan, Austin, Rock and Lesnar all left in a relatively small window.